December 11, 2017

The morning after the 50-year anniversary of the death of Otis Redding.

I put up a post last night, linking to a New Yorker tribute, with my own photograph from an airplane of the Madison lake where Redding's plane crashed. This morning, I'm clicking on my Otis Redding tag, because there's one thing I know is there and I want to find it. But I'm interested in all the old Otis Redding posts, and I'm going to list them here.

1. April 30, 2005 — "Songs transformed with the sex of the singer."
What songs well-known as girl songs would take on intriguing meaning sung by a guy?... The obvious actual example of this is Aretha Franklin singing Otis Redding's "Respect."... The trouble with a man singing that song is that it's a bit ugly: I make the money, so you owe me. It's the conventional arrangement. The lyrics are a bit awkward in the female re-sing. Why was Aretha giving this guy "all my money"? But we ignored that. It was the remnant of the Otis version. She sang through that and pulled out the better, female meaning through sheer force.
2. June 4, 2006 — "Convergences."
... I put in my earphones and fired up Pandora and meant to type in "Cigarettes and Chocolate Milk" to get to some more music like that. Mixing in the movie title ["Coffee and Cigarettes"] and influenced by that coffee I was drinking, I typed in "Cigarettes and Coffee." Pandora turned up a song I'd never heard before called "Cigarettes and Coffee" -- by Otis Redding. I wasn't meaning to listen to that kind of music but I liked it well enough.... [T]he theme [of "Theme Time Radio With Bob Dylan"] this week is "Coffee," and one of the songs on the playlist was "Cigarettes and Coffee" by Otis Redding.... Bob mentions how Otis died, converging by airplane with a lake here in Madison, Wisconsin. And he plays a clip from the movie "Coffee and Cigarettes"...
3. March 4, 2007 — "It is [blank] that makes us human."

"The possible marginal tax rate of more than 100% results from the combination of tax policies designed to provide benefits to businesses and families but then deny them to the richest people."

"As income climbs and those breaks phase out, each dollar of income faces regular tax rates and a hidden marginal rate on top of that, in the form of vanishing tax breaks. That structure, if maintained in a final law, would create some of the disincentives to working and to earning business profit that Republicans have long complained about, while opening lucrative avenues for tax avoidance. As a taxpayer’s income gets much higher and moves out of those phaseout ranges, the marginal tax rates would go down. Consider, for example, a married, self-employed New Jersey lawyer with three children and earnings of about $615,000. Getting $100 more in business income would force the lawyer to pay $105.45 in federal and state taxes, according to calculations by the conservative-leaning Tax Foundation. That is more than double the marginal tax rate that household faces today. If the New Jersey lawyer’s stay-at-home spouse wanted a job, the first $100 of the spouse’s wages would require $107.79 in taxes....."

From "The Taxman Cometh: Senate Bill’s Marginal Rates Could Top 100% for Some/Certain high-income business owners would face backwards incentives; lawmakers work to bridge gap" in The Wall Street Journal (which you can get into without a subscription if start at Drudge, where it's the top story right now).

So the rich are fighting back. The effort to make the tax bill politically palatable with these phaseouts at the high end created what is either a terrible problem or the raw material to frame an argument that the phaseouts are unfair. So the rich have got the Wall Street Journal drumming up sympathy for the group that was getting less than zero sympathy. These people who needed to be deprived of a tax cut now need to be saved from radical unfairness. Or so this article says.

I don't know if this is enough to leverage the GOP in Congress to help the rich (but I've heard that's what the GOP really always wants to do). It needs a lot of political cover. The WSJ paints a vivid picture of unfairness — even for a New Jersey lawyer who makes $615,000, normally one of the least sympathetic characters on the face of the earth.

If this article is wrong, somebody better get on the task of showing why it's wrong. Who's motivated to disprove what this article says? I don't think it it would be the Democrats, who hate the tax bill and want to see the whole thing fail. And it won't be the GOP people who actually want to help the rich and don't like the phaseouts. It might be someone who wants the big tax cut and also wants to make sure the rich don't get it — which could be someone who simply believes that for GOP to prevail in the next 2 elections, it must deliver a tax cut that does not hand the Democrats the argument that the GOP gave a big tax cut to the rich.

Aging... at the NYT.

Screen shot from an inner page at the NYT — "Things I’ll Do Differently When I’m Old" — with the comments open and showing the highest-rated comment at the top (click to enlarge):

December 10, 2017

"Fifty years ago, on December 10, 1967, a private plane carrying Otis Redding and the members of his touring band stalled on its final approach to the municipal airport in Madison, Wisconsin..."

"... and crashed into the waters of Lake Monona, killing all but one of the eight people onboard.... When he came up, in 1962, he was a completely unschooled performer who stood stock still onstage as he sang the pining, courtly ballads that brought him his first success. Over time, however, as his repertoire broadened to include driving, up-tempo songs, Redding found a way to use his imposing size and presence as a foil for his heartfelt emotionality, eschewing the conventions of graceful stagecraft in favor of a raw physicality that earned him comparisons to athletes like the football star Jim Brown. Marching in place to keep pace with the beat, pumping his fists in the air, striding across stages with a long-legged gait that parodied his 'down home' origins, Redding’s confident yet unaffected eroticism epitomized the African-American ideal of a 'natural man.'... And then he was no more. Redding’s sudden death thrust him into the ranks of a mythic group of musical performers that included Bix Beiderbecke, Robert Johnson, Hank Williams, Charlie Parker, Buddy Holly, Patsy Cline, and Redding’s own favorite, Sam Cooke––artists whose careers ended not only before their time but in their absolute prime, when there was every reason to expect that their finest work was yet to come...." — Jonathan Gould (The New Yorker).


If Roy Moore wins, says David Brooks, Republicans are "for a generation...repulsive" and "repulsive to people of color forever."

Brooks gets awfully grandiose and contemptuous (on "Meet the Press" today), especially at the end when he tells Republicans "you end up, not only making yourself unpopular but sort of corrupting a piece of yourself... There is no end to what they are going to be asked to tolerate, and that is just, internally, so corrosive."

Does a win by Roy Moore really mean all that? Why can't it just mean that the voters of Alabama — deprived of these allegations (about old events) until after the primary — were stuck with a choice between a particular, possibly morally flawed Republican who would represent them in Congress by voting for the policies they want and a Democrat who might be less morally flawed but would vote against the policies they want, and they voted according to their policy choices and not as a judgment on the morality of the man?

If Roy Moore's opponent wins, I would expect Democrats to exult at the fabulous new political opportunity and even to laugh openly at the Alabamans (who will be on the receiving end of contempt no matter what they do).

And I do not believe that after this election there's going to be any great shift to voting based on which candidate is more moral. I watched the Sunday shows this morning. All that cheesy emoting in the Theater of Sanctimony. Such scenery chewing! Especially by Brooks.

Isn't he too a sinner?

On the morning bakery run...


... we found lots of stuff to love.

Enjoy the open thread.

And please use this link — which is also always in the sidebar — if you feel the urge to shop at Amazon. Here are some cookie cutters in different sizes, for making "gingerbread children" and "gingerbread parents."


Don't even ask what I was playing on YouTube that made it serve this up...

... but I love the lighthearted jaunty feeling:

Oh, I'll tell you what I'd been playing. It was "Charmaine," by The Harmonicats:

That's something I used to like to play (with hippie irony) in 1969 at a diner in New Jersey that had individual jukeboxes built in at every booth table. I'd forgotten about those things but the old memories came back to me suddenly when I saw a picture (on Facebook) of somebody eating at a table at Outback that had a digital device built into the table. It wasn't for music, but for ordering food. So I went looking for "Charmaine." (Hey, isn't that the music that's playing during "medicine time" in "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest"? (a 1975 movie and not the source of my belief that it was funny to play that song in the diner).)

But back to The George Shearing Quintet. You may remember that I listened to an entire The George Shearing Quintet album and blogged about it back in 2013:
I was surprised how much I enjoyed this music, even as I remember feeling perfectly annoyed at my father for listening to something that seemed so inanely smooth and pleasant....

I expected this album to be Muzak — schmaltzy, embarrassing junk. But it was detailed and crisp, and I asked the spirit of my father to forgive me for my deafness to the things that he loved.
It's so funny that I've stumbled into the topic of Muzak, because twice in the past week, I've expressed the opinion (to Meade) that I think Muzak will be the piped in music in the future. It makes you feel calm and happy (as long as you let it!) and public places are going to want to exclude music with lyrics, because — more and more — people will come to feel that song lyrics are sexual harassment. Too many stray "I want your body" lyrics.

Should Justice Ginsburg at least explain why she does not recuse herself in the travel ban case?

Lawprof Ronald Rotunda — in a WaPo op-ed — says that she should.
We already know what Ginsburg thinks of the president. She told us more than a year ago that she “can’t imagine what the country would be . . . with Donald Trump as our president.” Facing criticism for her apparent endorsement of Hillary Clinton and her attacks on Trump, Ginsburg doubled down, emphasizing in a CNN interview: “He is a faker.” She then went on “point by point, as if presenting a legal brief,” the CNN analyst said.

Her statements are particularly troubling in the context of the travel ban case, in which the crucial issue — at least, according to the lower courts and the plaintiffs — is the personal credibility of Trump and whether he delivered his executive order in good faith — in other words, whether he is faking it....
This reminds me most of Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, watching the election results at a party on November 7, 2000, as described (on Christmas Eve, 2000) by Michael Isikoff in Newsweek, :
[S]urrounded for the most part by friends and familiar acquaintances, she let her guard drop for a moment when she heard the first critical returns shortly before 8 p.m. Sitting in her hostess's den, staring at a small black-and-white television set, she visibly started when CBS anchor Dan Rather called Florida for Al Gore. "This is terrible," she exclaimed. She explained to another partygoer that Gore's reported victory in Florida meant that the election was "over," since Gore had already carried two other swing states, Michigan and Illinois

Moments later, with an air of obvious disgust, she rose to get a plate of food, leaving it to her husband to explain her somewhat uncharacteristic outburst. John O'Connor said his wife was upset because they wanted to retire to Arizona, and a Gore win meant they'd have to wait another four years.
Not long after that outburst, O'Connor participated in the Bush v. Gore litigation. Should she have recused herself?

Ah, here's a Washington Post piece by Aaron Blake from the summer before the 2016 election, talking about whether Ginsburg should have to recuse herself:
It's not clear that there is any real precedent for what Ginsburg just did.

Then-Justice Sandra Day O'Connor was criticized by some in 2000 after Newsweek reported her saying, "This is terrible," at an election-night watch party after Florida was prematurely called for Al Gore. Some argued that she should have recused herself from Bush v. Gore.
In some ways, what O'Connor did seems worse, since she revealed a personal interest in seeing Bush elected (though she did not retire until after he was re-elected). But Rotunda identifies a special problem with Ginsburg's indiscretion: The case may turn on whether to trust Trump about whether the purported reason for the ban is the real reason. She's asked to decide if it's real or fake, and she called Trump a faker.

Drudge attributes superhuman powers to Trump.

Too mean? How hurt is she? Not that hurt:
Looks like i have an acute facet (spinal joint) dysfunction. I got compressed on the 6th gate and my back seized up. Rested and had a lot of therapy tonight. We will see how I feel tomorrow and then decide if I will race....
What did she say about Trump? Asked if she'd do the traditional visit to the White House after the Olympic, she'd said "absolutely not." Later, she clarified: "I was asked my opinion and I gave it. I mean, it's not necessarily my place to be sticking my nose in politics, but as an athlete I do have a voice." She also said that at the Olympics she would "represent the people of the United States, not the president." She didn't mention Trump, but she did say she admired Colin Kaepernick, which the linked article (to Fox News) connects to Trump, in that Trump has tweeted about Kaepernick. But Kaepernick's protest wasn't about Trump. If I remember correctly, Kaepernick protest is about race and the police (something we don't hear much about anymore).

"How did CNN end up aggressively hyping such a spectacularly false story? They refuse to say."

"Many hours after their story got exposed as false, the journalist who originally presented it, Congressional reporter Manu Raju, finally posted a tweet noting the correction. CNN’s PR Department then claimed that 'multiple sources' had provided CNN with the false date. And Raju went on CNN, in muted tones, to note the correction, explicitly claiming that 'two sources' had each given him the false date on the email, while also making clear that CNN did not ever even see the email, but only had sources describe its purported contents... [H]ow did 'multiple sources' all misread the date on this document, in exactly the same way, and toward the same end, and then feed this false information to CNN? It is, of course, completely plausible that one source might innocently misread a date on a document. But how is it remotely plausible that multiple sources could all innocently and in good faith misread the date in exactly the same way, all to cause to be disseminated a blockbuster revelation about Trump/Russia/WikiLeaks collusion? This is the critical question that CNN simply refuses to answer. In other words, CNN refuses to provide the most minimal transparency to enable the public to understand what happened here."

Glenn Greenwald, at The Intercept, "The U.S. Media Yesterday Suffered its Most Humiliating Debacle in Ages: Now Refuses All Transparency Over What Happened."

How does the NYT know what Trump does in his bedroom when he wakes up in the morning?

I'm reading "INSIDE TRUMP’S HOUR-BY-HOUR BATTLE FOR SELF-PRESERVATION/With Twitter as his Excalibur, the president takes on his doubters, powered by long spells of cable news and a dozen Diet Cokes. But if Mr. Trump has yet to bend the presidency to his will, he is at least wrestling it to a draw."

The article — by Maggie Haberman, Glenn Thrush, and Peter Baker — says it's based "on interviews with 60 advisers, associates, friends and members of Congress." But that doesn't mean every stated fact has 60 sources. Who was in the bedroom? The most logical guess is that the report comes from Trump himself:
Around 5:30 each morning, President Trump wakes and tunes into the television in the White House’s master bedroom. He flips to CNN for news, moves to “Fox & Friends” for comfort and messaging ideas, and sometimes watches MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” because, friends suspect, it fires him up for the day.

Energized, infuriated — often a gumbo of both — Mr. Trump grabs his iPhone.
So first he turns on the TV, watches it until he gets excited, and then he grabs his iPhone? Personally, I begin by grabbing my iPhone — oh, sometimes I just pick it up — and I read the news, probably the NYT, until feel so inspired to blog that I jump out of bed. Just kidding. I don't jump out of bed. And, really, who "jumps" out of bed in real life? But it's what everyone does in writing, just like they "grab"* their iPhone.

Anyway, I believe that when Trump wakes up, he turns on the TV and uses it to orient himself to the morning. Is he looking for something precise, like "news" from CNN, "comfort" from Fox, and "fire" from MSNBC — and in that order? "Friends suspect"! Well, I suspect some poetic license is taken there, but the reporters have deniability: They're passing along the suspicions of "friends." How many friends — all 60? What could they know of the order Trump flips through the news channels, what he's seeking on each of the channels, the feelings that actually arise — a "gumbo" of energy and fury! — and whether those feelings impel his famous fingers to the small electronic device.
Sometimes he tweets while propped on his pillow, according to aides.
Does he really tweet from the iPhone? That takes dexterity... or willingness to use speech-to-text. I never do that. I have to leap out of bed — literally hurtle myself out — to get to a real computer with a good keyboard, not just to make typing easier, but to feel better grounded in the real world. But then, I am clinging to the edge of reality in my remote outpost in Madison, Wisconsin, and President Trump, even propped on his pillow, is in the White House, and when he turns on the TV, on multiple channels, people are talking about the fact that he's in the White House. I'm sure he feels grounded. Or insane. One or the other.

But that gumbo, I want to talk about the gumbo. I know HabermanTrushBaker are using "gumbo" to mean "stew," but "stew" is well established to mean "A state of excitement, esp. of great alarm or anxiety." The OED has that meaning for "stew" going back to 1806, whereas "gumbo" only means okra, the "soup thickened with the mucilaginous pods of this plant," something mud-related, and "A patois spoken by black people and Creoles in the French West Indies, Louisiana, Bourbon, and Mauritius." Yes, metaphor can take you beyond those meanings, but why express contempt for Trump by using a word associated with black people?
Other times he tweets from the den next door, watching another television. Less frequently, he makes his way up the hall to the ornate Treaty Room, sometimes dressed for the day, sometimes still in night clothes, where he begins his official and unofficial calls.
So the man walks down the hall, possibly in his pajamas. Or what are we talking about here — "night clothes"? "Quite undress'd, with only Night-cloaths on my Head, and a loose Morning Gown wrapt about me." I'm back to reading the OED. That quote is from the 1722 novel "Moll Flanders," by Daniel DeFoe. I'm just going to picture Trump in pajamas and a bathrobe. Maybe they didn't want to say "bathrobe" because there are too many bathrobes in the news lately. (I see a Slate article from last month, "Ban Men's Bathrobes.")

Back to the NYT article:
As he ends his first year in office, Mr. Trump is redefining what it means to be president. He sees the highest office in the land much as he did the night of his stunning victory over Hillary Clinton — as a prize he must fight to protect every waking moment, and Twitter is his Excalibur. Despite all his bluster, he views himself less as a titan dominating the world stage than a maligned outsider engaged in a struggle to be taken seriously, according to interviews with 60 advisers, associates, friends and members of Congress....
But that is the way they portray him in the news —  a maligned outsider engaged in a struggle to be taken seriously. I don't need 60 insiders to explain that to me. It's an accurate picture of the media. Now, you may say, he just shouldn't watch the TV, shouldn't pay attention to media, should let media do its thing and stick to what's conventionally presidential — ignore what's being said about him.
Before taking office, Mr. Trump told top aides to think of each presidential day as an episode in a television show in which he vanquishes rivals. People close to him estimate that Mr. Trump spends at least four hours a day, and sometimes as much as twice that, in front of a television, sometimes with the volume muted, marinating in the no-holds-barred wars of cable news and eager to fire back.
Don't fight back. Be above it all. Remember how well that worked for George W. Bush? But that's not Trump. I can see why he uses Twitter. He's a master at Twitter, keeping the media honest (or at least looking as dishonest as it is (or might be)). Maybe you think he shouldn't stoop to things like this:

But I don't believe that sort of thing takes much time, just like I don't believe that having a muted TV running in the background for 8 hours means he's spending 8 hours watching TV.  I read Trump's Twitter feed. Some days there's nothing. Some days there is one thing. Occasionally, he spreads out and drops 4 or 5 tweets. How much time does that really take? It might save time, because instead of feeling irritated and distracted by some stupid news report (e.g., Weigel's "phony photo") and involving somebody else in doing something about it, Trump spends probably one minute typing out a tweet. Efficient, effective. The media would, I'm sure, prefer to filter his message through their own template, replete with naysayers and qualifications. But Trump leaps over the media. He springs. He vaults.

Yes, yes. Excalibur. I haven't talked about Excalibur....

* "Grab" is an evocative word in anti-Trumpiana, because of "Grab ’em by the pussy. You can do anything."

"The huntresses’ war cry — 'believe all women' — has felt like a bracing corrective to a historic injustice."

"It has felt like a justifiable response to a system in which the crimes perpetrated against women — so intimate, so humiliating and so unlike any other — are so very difficult to prove. But I also can’t shake the feeling that this mantra creates terrible new problems in addition to solving old ones. In less than two months we’ve moved from uncovering accusations of criminal behavior (Harvey Weinstein) to criminalizing behavior that we previously regarded as presumptuous and boorish (Glenn Thrush). In a climate in which sexual mores are transforming so rapidly, many men are asking: If I were wrongly accused, who would believe me? I know the answer that many women would give — are giving — is: Good. Be scared. We have been scared for forever. It’s your turn for some sleepless nights.... I believe that the 'believe all women' vision of feminism unintentionally fetishizes women. Women are no longer human and flawed. They are Truth personified. They are above reproach. I believe that it’s condescending to think that women and their claims can’t stand up to interrogation and can’t handle skepticism. I believe that facts serve feminists far better than faith. That due process is better than mob rule."

This is an excellent NYT op-ed — "The Limits of 'Believe All Women'" by Bari Weiss, and I'm sorry I didn't catch it when it was first published, on November 28th. Why am I reading it this morning? Because I did a search of the NYT archive for the name "Glenn Thrush." (See it in there: "behavior that we previously regarded as presumptuous and boorish (Glenn Thrush).")

Why was I searching for the name "Glenn Thrush"? Because I remembered that the NYT reacted to the allegations about him by suspending him. (Here's the NYT announcement of that on November 20th.) Yet I see his name on  a big NYT article about Trump that went up last night "INSIDE TRUMP’S HOUR-BY-HOUR BATTLE FOR SELF-PRESERVATION/With Twitter as his Excalibur, the president takes on his doubters, powered by long spells of cable news and a dozen Diet Cokes. But if Mr. Trump has yet to bend the presidency to his will, he is at least wrestling it to a draw."

I am going to blog about that article in the next post, so please don't comment on the details of what's inside that article in this comment thread. Please pay attention to Bari Weiss's excellent op-ed, which is similar to some of what I said in my December 8th post "How the Franken & Franks resignations will, I'm afraid, end up hurting women."

The Weiss line I most wish I'd written is: "I believe that the 'believe all women' vision of feminism unintentionally fetishizes women."

And feel free to talk about how Glenn Thrush got unflushed.

ADDED: Now, I see the note at the bottom of the long article: "Glenn Thrush contributed to this article before he was suspended pending the result of an investigation into allegations of inappropriate behavior." So, he's still in exile.

December 9, 2017

At the Sunset Café...


... you can talk about whatever you like.

Meade texted me that photo from the bike trail while I stayed warm inside.

And if you've got some shopping to do, here's the good old link to Amazon.

"It's all psychological, to a large extent, and that's what creates greatness," said Trump.

In Pensacola last night (talking about economic growth, low unemployment, and high consumer confidence).

Here's the video of the speech at C-Span, where you won't find that quote in the transcript under the video, which seems to be the hit-or-miss that is closed captioning. Go to 22:00:

I thought that was kind of profound. Reminded me of The Beatles:

"It's all in the mind, you know."

If "it's all psychological... and that's what creates greatness," then Trump can Make America Great Again if we simply believe again that it is great.

"You won't get it unless you want it/And we want it now..."

"I know he brought you into his office to show you porn, I know he made sexual innuendos to you. I know this because you told me so in DC..."

"... and you even used the words sexual harassment. You said you would warn off other women thinking of clerking for him. And if there’s a woman out there he harassed worse than you, do you really want to be pitted against her? Because that’s what it would be. I’m worried that this is what he’s asking you to do — to be the female, intelligent face of his defense and make whoever it is accusing him look like a stupid slut, and then he hopefully never has to actually address those allegations."

Wrote "fellow romance novelist Eve Ortega" to Heidi Bond, who clerked for 9th Circuit Judge Alex Kozinski and "who went on to clerk for the Supreme Court and now works as a romance novelist writing under the name Courtney Milan," quoted in the WaPo article "Prominent appeals court Judge Alex Kozinski accused of sexual misconduct."

Bond is now saying that the judge "called her into his office several times and pulled up pornography on his computer, asking if she thought it was photoshopped or if it aroused her sexually.... One set of images she remembered was of college-age students at a party where 'some people were inexplicably naked while everyone else was clothed.' Another was a sort of digital flip book that allowed users to mix and match heads, torsos and legs to create an image of a naked woman."

The "pornography" wasn't related to any legal case. I'm putting "pornography" in quotes because I don't think of photographs of a naked person as "pornography." Is this Renoir painting pornography?
It's bad — it's atrocious! — but it's not pornography. If I ask you whether you find those Renoir women sexually attractive, am I sexually harassing you? Is the workplace hostile if X lets you see that he's looking at a picture of a naked person and asks if you find that naked person sexually attractive? I mean, anybody can see from the vantage point of today that it's a bad idea to interact like that in the workplace, but I think a proportionate reaction would be to agree that we shouldn't be doing that and move forward.

A few personal footnotes:

1. I've met Judge Kozinski and like him, though I haven't seen him in a long time. I think he's more casual, freewheeling, and individualistic than most judges. In fact, what I remember most about talking to Judge Kozinski is that when he attempted to tell me how to become a federal judge, I said I didn't want to be a federal judge: it's better to be a law professor, precisely because you have more personal freedom and can express yourself in a less conventional, more individualistic style.

2. The only time I've ever watched actual pornography was in the chambers of the federal judge I was clerking for. A box of VCR tapes had been seized by the U.S. government en route to some man whose wife actually showed up in court to argue that those tapes were good for her relationship with her husband. So the videos needed to be watched to determine if they reached the level of "obscenity" within the meaning of First Amendment law. I have a vivid image of seeing "my" judge reading legal briefs next to a TV screen closeup of well-lit genitalia.

3. My idea of the meaning of "pornography" is grounded in the 1980s and early 90s when feminists set aside the concept of "obscenity" and spoke instead of "pornography," which they defined as "the graphic sexually explicit subordination of women through pictures and/or words." That idea for legislation had a lot of problems and never got very far, but the point is, it was an effort to get at the real problem of the subordination of women. I was a law professor when those things were happening and I wrote and taught about some of these subjects, and the ideas about subordination and inequality still affect what I think about claims relating to seeing pictures of people naked.


Here's the Amazon page for Courtney Milan. People seem to like her books. I've never read any of them. I don't look at pornography and I don't read romance books. Just my personal preference. But I was amused by the biographical statement on that Amazon page:
Before she started writing historical romance, Courtney got a graduate degree in theoretical physical chemistry from UC Berkeley. After that, just to shake things up, she went to law school at the University of Michigan and graduated summa cum laude. Then she did a handful of clerkships with some really important people who are way too dignified to be named here. She was a law professor for a while. She now writes full-time.
I too was a law professor for a while and now write full-time. I'm impressed by her background and her career choices, including the earlier sloughing off the lawprof persona and recreating herself as a freely expressive writer.

ADDED: Here's an article from 2015 on Heidi Bond/Courtney Milan. This seems to be from the University of Michigan Law School, presenter her as a successful alumna. We're told that her romance novels, set in the 19th century, include details about "judges, lawyers, and courts as well as epidemiological studies and complex calculus."
“Everything that happens and everything that I learn or think or feel is fair game for ending up in a book,” she says. “All these things are tools that can be used.”...
Her encounters with Judge Kozinski are part of "everything that happens," and perhaps she has used that somewhere in her writing, which sounds high-level (and I'm not going to look down my at romance novels (to the extent that I'm an art snob, it's not about sticking to the high side of the high-art/low-art distinction)).

Bond/Milan also seems to have done very well financially:
In early 2014, Yahoo Finance ran a story featuring Bond among a handful of other writers with the headline: “These Romance Writers Ditched Their Publishers for E-Books-and Made Millions.”

“Some of the most exciting entrepreneurs in the U.S. today aren’t hoodie-wearing app developers,” the article says, “they’re women writing books for women and making millions in the process.” The article quotes Bond as one of the pioneering authors who decided to stop selling her books to mainstream publishers and instead launch her novels independently. The result yielded more control over what she was producing while successfully targeting e-book readers who wanted to buy digital copies of books often for less money and more frequently than traditional publishing could produce them....

"The president’s lawyers are sleepwalking their client into the abyss. They are entirely unrealistic..."

"... about the enmity toward the president from the political establishment, and the established order."

Said Roger Stone, "an adviser to Mr. Trump’s 2016 campaign whose dealings with WikiLeaks are under examination as part of the Russia investigation," quoted in the Wall Street Journal article "Trump’s Allies Urge Harder Line as Mueller Probe Heats Up/President’s legal team had predicted investigation would clear Trump by year’s end" (which was accessible to me without a subscription, arriving from Drudge).
[Trump's lawyer Ty] Cobb, who initially said the probe would wrap up by year’s end if not sooner, stands by his assessment that it’s moving at a reasonable clip. “I don’t see this dragging out,” he said in a recent interview. Mr. Mueller’s team is “committed to trying to help the country and get this done quickly,” Mr. Cobb said, adding, “I commend them for that. And we’re certainly determined to do it.”
That does sound sleepwalk-y, but there could be a strategy to talking like that when you really are quite aware of the dangers. There are many situations where X says "I'm sure Y will do the right thing," when X really believes Y will do something else but is trying to nudge Y to do what X wants or lulling Y into thinking that X is not prepared to fight aggressively if Y doesn't do what X wants.

"It was a never-ending supply of cute young men..."

Said Bret Tyer Skopek, quoted in "Sex, Drugs, Glamour, Emptiness: Bryan Singer’s Teen Ex-Lover Bares All About Life In Director’s Orbit."
In Skopek’s telling, Singer dangled the lure of a minor role in an X-Men movie, but the promised audition never happened. Disillusioned and exhausted by Singer’s sexual demands over the course of their year-long relationship, the young man eventually moved to Fort Worth, Texas, to live with his father....
It should be noted that the "teen" was 18. Was he not free to make his own choices about what kind of relationships to have? Even if he is, that doesn't absolve the older man of responsibility for predatory behavior and lies, and the young man is also free to tell his story and to frame the older man in whatever negative light fits within the bounds of libel law and whatever nondisclosure agreements the old man may have used to try to protect himself.
“In Hollywood, the question you get asked a million times is, ‘What wouldn’t you do to succeed?’ And your hunger is part of the deal with the devil,” [London-based director Duncan Roy said] in an interview with Deadline. “The horrible thing is that there’s an unwritten rule, an unspoken agreement, between anybody who arrives. Every single high school king and queen that arrives in L.A. knows what to expect. You do anything to get on because the riches, when they’re delivered to you, are profound.”
Everyone knows what to expect? Teens arriving from the hinterlands — they all already know everything? And they all have already decided to do anything. That's a convenient thing for the director to believe, but I don't believe he really believes it. I'm surprised — whether he believes it or not — that he's naive enough to say it. But that shows how out-of-touch people inside the movie business are.* He doesn't see how we the public will feel about assertions like that, and he doesn't know how young people really feel or — if his statement is somehow true about young people and I'm wrong — have any empathy for the human beings who are making poor decisions about what to do with their beautiful young bodies.

Here's the photograph young Bret Tyler Skopek took of himself with Bryan Singer:
That's the face of a boy-man whose conscious thought may well have been I'm so lucky to have this high-level access, but it's easy to see that even then — even while he still had access — he was silently crying.**

* And yet so many of us go to the movies and consume their vision of what human beings are really like. We let these false images shape our psychology and our culture.

** You can see why this boy will be replaced by a new boy from the "never-ending supply of cute young men." He's worn out and drained. The old man needs a new mirror. He looks too ugly reflected in this boy's face.

"The media's Russia probe meltdown: 3 screw-ups in one week."

Axios explains:
The misses

Flynn's testimony: Last Friday, ABC News reported that former national security advisor Michael Flynn was prepared to testify that President Trump, while still a candidate, directed him to contact Russian officials. But later in the day, the network issued a "clarification" that the direction came when Trump was president-elect. That changed the impact of the story entirely as it's a common occurrence for presidential transition teams to reach out to foreign governments.

Deutsche Bank subpoena: Reuters and Bloomberg both reported on Tuesday that Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation had subpoenaed Deutsche Bank for information on accounts relating to President Trump and his family members — seemingly confirming that Mueller had expanded his probe to investigate the president's financial dealings. The WSJ defused that bombshell in a follow-up report stating that the subpoenas actually dealt with "people or entities close to Mr. Trump."

WikiLeaks emails: CNN reported this morning that senior Trump campaign officials, including Trump himself, received an email from an unknown sender on September 4, 2016 that linked them to what could have been unreleased WikiLeaks documents. WaPo issued their own report later in the afternoon that the email was actually sent on September 14 — and linked to a trove of documents that WikiLeaks had publicly released a day earlier.

Why not shave the back of your head and get a Trump tattoo that incorporates your own hair as the Tattoo Trump's hair?

First snow, at first light.


Just now.